Apple Valley Model Railroad Museum – Historic Train Depot

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The first steam engine puffed up the Saluda Grade to the Hendersonville Depot in 1879. The steam engine needed a “help engine” attached to the rear of the train at Melrose for additional power to push the train up the Saluda Mountain Grade, the steepest main-line standard gauge railroad in the United States. The Carolina Special ran between Charleston, South Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio from 1911 until 1968. The restored Depot houses a HO scale railroad layout that is highly detailed and is prototypical of Hendersonville, Saluda, Asheville, and Western North Carolina.  The Deport features historical artifacts, a Southern Railway cabooser and a special children’s exhibit where they can operate a Thomas the Tank train in a scenic layout. See the 10ft x 80 ft Garden “G” scale layout.

  • Open Wednesdays & Saturdays
  • Admission is free
  • Donations appreciated
  • Check web site for hours

Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO

511 N. Main St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792
828-692 8386
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The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO is the only public aquarium in Western North Carolina. It is recognized as the first inland aquarium in North Carolina.

  • The Aquarium houses 20+ displays of tropical fish, eels, stingrays, sea horses, turtles, a touch tank, a 2,000-gallon shark study tank with bamboo sharks and more!
  • Check web site for hours, they vary by season
  • Admission charged
  • Educational opportunities for schools are available

Bold Rock Hard Cider

72 School House Road
Mills River, NC 28759
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  • Bold Rock Hard Cider is the biggest craft cider maker in the Carolinas.
  • The Mills River cidery uses apples sourced only from Henderson County.
  • The Cidery offers complimentary daily tours and tastings and features an expansive tasting room with overhead views of the bottling line.
  • Relax outside on the patio or inside the tasting room as you enjoy one of their award-winning varieties of Bold Rock Hard Cider.
  • Open 7 days per week, has a permanent food truck on-site, regularly has live music, movies on the big screen, and other special events.
  • Bold Rock Mills River Cidery offers complimentary tours Saturday and Sunday at 1, 3, & 5 pm.

Bullington Gardens

95 Upper Red Oak Trail
Hendersonville, NC 28792
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Bullington Gardens is a 12-acre, nonprofit horticultural education center offering programs, activities and workshops.The gardens and grounds include a therapy garden, shade garden, butterfly garden, perennial borders, native woodland garden, pumpkin patch and herb garden. The grounds also include a half-mile nature trail through the wooded area of the gardens.

  • Check web site for hours
  • No admission charged
  • Donations appreciated

Burntshirt Vineyards

2695 Sugarloaf Road
Hendersonville, NC 28792
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Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

1800 Little River Rd
Flat Rock, NC 28731
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Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is where Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, author, and lecturer spent the final 22 years of his long and productive life at his estate, Connemara. The home, originally built in 1838, displays the Sandburg’s furnishing as they lived at Connemara from 1945-1968, including Carl Sandburg’s collection of 12,000 books. Tour the home for a small fee, and learn about Sandburg’s life as a writer, journalist, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer. Visit the barn and descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goat herd and hike over five miles of trails. Access to trails, grounds, barns and public areas is free.

  • Open year-round. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day
  • Admission charged for house tour

Chimney Rock Park at Chimney Rock State Park

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  • The Park boasts 75-mile views, 5 different hiking trails, a 404-foot waterfall, rare plant life, a picnic area, unique rock formations, an Animal Discovery Den, a variety of birds and more.
  • A 26-story elevator inside the mountain for easy access
  • The park was one of the film locations for the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”
  • Located 18 miles east of Hendersonville
  • Check web site for hours and fees

Deep Woods Mushrooms

70 Deep Woods Rd
Mills River, NC 28759
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  • Deep Woods Mushrooms offers tours of the mushroom farm, classes on how to grow mushrooms on logs, mushroom foraging ID classes and hikes, and more.
  • Reservations are required for tours.

Flat Rock Playhouse, State Theatre of North Carolina

661 Greenville Hwy. (Hwy. 225 South)
Flat Rock, NC 28731
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The Flat Rock Playhouse has presented hundreds of productions for over eighty years. The Playhouse offers quality entertainment rarely found so far from Broadway. The Vagabond Players perform a variety of hits each year from comedy, American classics, musicals, farces and whodunits. The Playhouse features professional actors from across the country in major productions such as Mamma Mia, West Side Story, South Pacific and more.  The Playhouse is open mid-April through mid-October, plus a holiday production, presenting matinees and evening performances Wednesday through Sunday.

Historic Johnson Farm

3346 Haywood Rd.
Hendersonville, NC 28791
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Historic Johnson Farm is a fine example of a late 19th and early 20th-century farm & tourist retreat. The entire structure was handmade from bricks that were fired on-site from French Broad River mud. Over the years many outbuildings were constructed, including a tool shed/blacksmith shop, barn, boarding house, and a cottage. The property offers historic home tours, nature trails, picnic tables, animals, and 10 historic structures on 15 acres filled with trees in a natural setting. Guided tours of the historic house are available Monday-Friday, call for times.

The Heritage Weavers and Fiber Artists have transformed the boarding house into a fiber arts center, which includes weaving, rug hooking, bobbin lace, spinning, or knitting.

Holmes Educational State Forest

1299 Crab Creek Road
Hendersonville, NC
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Holmes Educational State Forest offers a series of well-marked trails, firefighting equipment, accented by exhibits and displays depicting the ecology of a managed forest. Picnic sites with tables and a spacious picnic shelter (with grills) are also available. Located about 8 1/2 miles from downtown Hendersonville.

  • Nature Trails
  • Playground
  • Hiking
  • Picnic Area

Open Year-Round (check web site for hours)

Mineral & Lapidary Museum
of Henderson County

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The Mineral & Lapidary Museum features the natural beauty of minerals, gems, fossils and artifacts found in North Carolina, in the United States and around the world. Displays include North Carolina minerals, dinosaur egg cluster, English minerals, fluorescent minerals, geodes, petrified wood & large logs, coral, artfully crafted jewelry, gem stones, Cullinan Diamond replicas and a Henderson County Meteorite, on loan from the Smithsonian, are featured displays. Gift shop is open daily. Geode cracking. Free admission!

  • Open Monday-Friday 1pm-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm (Winter Hours: open Wednesday – Saturday).
  • Admission is free.
  • Located on the lower level of the Henderson County Genealogical & Historical Society building.

North River Farm

3333 North Mills River Rd.
Mills River, NC
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North River Farms is a locally owned and operated family business. The 1,400-acre farm strives to produce the highest quality products.


  • Guided tours of a real working farm.
  • Tours may be customized for groups ranging from families to schools, churches, clubs, Scouts, and social groups.
  • Groups can enjoy a riverside picnic, a farm shed party, or outdoor games of Laser Tag and GellyBall (NEW for 2021)
  • U-Pick produce is available in season.

Saluda Historic Depot

32 W. Main St.
Saluda, NC 28773
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  • Saluda’s 1903 train station houses a heritage museum highlighting the vital role of the railroad in this mountain town’s history. 
  • Exhibits include a diorama of the famous Saluda Grade – the steepest mainline standard gauge railroad grade in the United States – and a diorama depicting Saluda’s various railroading eras. 
  • Railroad artifacts.
  • Videos of trains climbing the Saluda Grade.
  • Admission is free. 
  • Scheduled tours are available.
  • Open Thursday-Sunday (call for hours)

Sideways Farm & Brewery

62 Eade Road
Etowah, NC 28729
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Sideways Brewery offers an ever-changing menu of small-batch artisan ales using seasonal specialty ingredients that are grown on the farm. The tasting room offers no taps, instead of pouring directly from our bottles for guided tastings and real ale by the glass or purchase bottles to be enjoyed on the property or taken home. They also handcraft hard jun kombucha and serve locally made soda and wines. Guests may walk the farm to see beer ingredients growing, view farm animals grazing, or pick their own flowers.

Open Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Check web site for hours.

A beautiful setting for marriage proposals, elopements, intimate weddings, or private farm-to-table dinners and events.


  • Beer tastings
  • Outdoor seating
  • Food trucks on-site Friday-Sunday – check the website or social media for details.
  • Private group tours of the brewery
  • Farm tours
  • U-pick flowers

The Old Home Place

4060 North Mills River Rd.
Mills River, NC 28759
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  • The Old Home Place features a large dance floor, live entertainment in a family atmosphere with no alcohol or smoking.
  • The bands play country or bluegrass music for a toe-tapping fun evening.
  • Most Saturdays from 7:00pm – 10:30pm, check their Facebook page for more info.

Western North Carolina Air Museum

1340 East Gilbert Street
Hendersonville, NC 28793
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  • North Carolina’s first air museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the flying heritage of the Western North Carolina.
  • It features an impressive collection of restored, replica and vintage airplanes, models, engines, and flying memorabilia.
  • The museum is housed in two large hangers, where you will find passionate volunteer pilots that are eager to show you around. 
  • The museum is located adjacent to the Hendersonville Airport.
  • No admission charge.
  • Call for days and times museum is open.
  • Advance reservations for groups requested.